It’s that time of year when we often hear the catch phrase, “Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.” We see it written on Christmas and New Year greeting cards. We must all work towards making that message truly heartfelt; but it is easier said than done.
Peace is a process and it takes constant work. We may have peace about a situation one day and the next day, that same set of circumstances may have us in a tailspin. So, we attempt to ‘stay in peace,’ as Pastor Joel Osteen says which may require a degree of self-talk. We have to sometimes talk ourselves down off the mountain of High Irritation. There may be no one else around to rescue us, so we have to make sure that we can save ourselves when facing these awkward moments.
These challenges may vex us until we first admit that they are indeed happening. Secondly, we should make a conscious effort to not let it alarm us too much. When it seems that trouble is all around us, we must think back and remember that we have made it through tougher times. Life is progressive and as we evolve, we learn to react less quickly and see what we are to learn from it. Some are tests of our patience or endurance or we may need to take more steps towards greater maturity. We never know what we are being primed for down the road and a level head goes a long way.
As we get older, we should be getting wiser. Wisdom teaches us to stop rehashing our tales of woe. Each time we retell some unhappy event, we relive it all over again and breathe new life into it. Then we are stuck like a skipping CD playing the same note over and over. We quickly eject it and clean it off. We try to play it again and if it is still snagged, we dispose of it. But we do stop the repetition.
Peace works that way because we have to limit the interruptions and the things or people who steal our serenity. When we told the elders about some unhappy affair, they were usually silent or said only a few words. They had seen and heard it all, so they could just sit, listen and hope that we’d be okay. Menander writes, “By associating with wise people you will become wise yourself.” Their limited input or silent gestures was their way of saying, “this too shall pass.’” We should learn from their cool responses.
I had a Ghanaian co-worker who would calm me down when I was sharing some troubling event. He would say, “No mind. No mind.” It was so comforting. He meant, do not give it your mind or your mental energy. So, we too can use the phrase, ‘no mind.’
It is our daily task to find peace. My mother liked a saying that said, “If it doesn’t matter to you, then it does not matter.” This is a good antidote to keep handy as we approach the holiday season. We will be thrust in the company of friends, family and co-workers.
Some of those lovely people have a knack for pushing our buttons. Some do it intentionally and some may do it unintentionally. However, we must fortify ourselves with all of the armor that we need to stay in peace or keep our cool emotionally. Then, we can smile and truly extend well wishes to those in our midst. Peace is golden!
Lynn December 9, 2014